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Cooper, James Fenimore, 1789-1851 [1848], Jack Tier, volume 1 (Burgess, Stringer & Co., New York) [word count] [eaf079v1].
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Thou art the same, eternal sea!
The earth has many shapes and forms,
Of hill and valley, flower and tree;
Fields that the fervid noontide warms,
Or winter's rugged grasp deforms,
Or bright with autumn's golden store;
Thou coverest up thy face with storms,
Or smilest serene,—but still thy roar
And dashing foam go up to vex the sea-beat shore:

We shall now advance the time eight-and-forty hours.
The baffling winds and calms that succeeded the tornado
had gone, and the trades blew in their stead. Both vessels
had disappeared, the brig leading, doubling the western
extremity of the reef, and going off before both wind and
current, with flowing sheets, fully three hours before the
sloop-of-war could beat up against the latter, to a point that
enabled her to do the same thing. By that time, the Swash
was five-and-twenty miles to the eastward, and consequently
but just discernible in her loftiest sails, from the ship's royal
yards. Still, the latter continued the chase; and that evening
both vessels were beating down along the southern margin
of the Florida Reef, against the trades, but favoured by
a three or four knot current, the brig out of sight to windward.
Our narrative leads us to lose sight of both these
vessels, for a time, in order to return to the islets of the
Gulf. Eight-and-forty hours had made some changes in

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and around the haven of the Dry Tortugas. The tent still
stood, and a small fire that was boiling its pot and its kettle,
at no great distance from it, proved that the tent was still
inhabited. The schooner also rode at her anchors, very
much as she had been abandoned by Spike. The bag of
doubloons, however, had been found, and there it lay, tied
but totally unguarded, in the canvas verandah of Rose
Budd's habitation. Jack Tier passed and repassed it with
apparent indifference, as he went to and fro, between his
pantry and kitchen, busy as a bee in preparing his noontide
meal for the day. This man seemed to have the islet all to
himself, however, no one else being visible on any part of
it. He sang his song, in a cracked, contre alto voice, and
appeared to be happy in his solitude. Occasionally he
talked to himself aloud, most probably because he had no
one else to speak to. We shall record one of his recitatives,
which came in between the strains of a very inharmonious
air, the words of which treated of the seas, while the
steward's assistant was stirring an exceedingly savoury
mess that he had concocted of the ingredients to be found
in the united larders of the Swash and the Mexican schooner.

“Stephen Spike is a capital willian!” exclaimed Jack, smelling
at a ladle filled with his soup—“a capital willian, I call
him. To think, at his time of life, of such a handsome
and pleasant young thing as this Rose Budd; and then to
try to get her by underhand means, and by making a fool
of her silly old aunt. It 's wonderful what fools some old
aunts be! Quite wonderful! If I was as great a simpleton
as this Mrs. Budd, I'd never cross my threshhold. Yes,
Stephen Spike is a prodigious willian, as his best friend
must own! Well, I gave him a thump on the head that
he'll not forget this v'y'ge. To think of carryin' off that
pretty Rose Budd in his very arms, in so indecent a manner!
Yet, the man has his good p'ints, if a body could only forget
his bad ones. He's a first-rate seaman. How he
worked the brig till he doubled the reef, a'ter she got into
open water; and how he made her walk off afore the wind,
with stun'sails alow and aloft, as soon as ever he could
make 'em draw! My life for it, he 'll tire the legs of Uncle
Sam's man, afore he can fetch up with him. For running
away, when hard chased, Stephen Spike has n't his equal

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on 'arth. But, he's a great willian—a prodigious willian!
I cannot say I actually wish him hanged; but I would
rather have him hanged than see him get pretty Rose in his
power. What has he to do with girls of nineteen? If the
rascal is one year old, he's fifty-six. I hope the sloop-of-war
will find her match, and I think she will. The Molly's
a great traveller, and not to be outdone easily. 'T would
be a thousand pities so lovely a craft should be cut off in
the flower of her days, as it might be, and I do hope she'll
lead that bloody sloop on some sunken rock.

“Well, there's the other bag of doubloons. It seems
Stephen could not get it. That's odd, too, for he's great
at grabbin' gold. The man bears his age well; but he's a
willian! I wonder whether he or Mulford made that half-board
in the narrow channel. It was well done, and Stephen
is a perfect sailor; but he says Mulford is the same.
Nice young man, that Mulford; just fit for Rose, and Rose
for him. Pity to part them. Can find no great fault with
him, except that he has too much conscience. There's
such a thing as having too much, as well as too little conscience.
Mulford has too much, and Spike has too little.
For him to think of carryin' off a gal of nineteen! I say
he's fifty-six, if he's a day. How fond he used to be of
this very soup! If I've seen him eat a quart of it, I've
seen him eat a puncheon full of it, in my time. What an
appetite the man has when he's had a hard day's duty on 't!
There 's a great deal to admire, and a great deal to like in
Stephen Spike, but he's a reg'lar willian. I dare say he
fancies himself a smart, jaunty youth ag'in, as I can remember
him; a lad of twenty, which was about his years
when I first saw him, by the sign that I was very little
turned of fifteen myself. Spike was comely then, though
I acknowledge he's a willian. I can see him now, with his
deep blue roundabout, his bell-mouthed trowsers, both of
fine cloth—too fine for such a willian—but fine it was, and
much did it become him.”

Here Jack made a long pause, during which, though he
may have thought much, he said nothing. Nevertheless,
he was n't idle the while. On the contrary, he passed no
less than three several times from the fire to the tent, and
returned. Each time, in going and coming, he looked

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intently at the bag of doubloons, though he did not stop at it
or touch it. Some associations connected with Spike's fruitless
attempts to obtain it must have formed its principal interest
with this singular being, as he muttered his captain's
name each time in passing, though he said no more audibly.
The concerns of the dinner carried him back and forth; and
in his last visit to the tent, he began to set a small table—
one that had been brought for the convenience of Mrs. Budd
and her niece, from the brig, and which of course still remained
on the islet. It was while thus occupied, that Jack
Tier recommenced his soliloquy.

“I hope that money may do some worthy fellow good
yet. It's Mexican gold, and that's inemy's gold, and might
be condemned by law, I do suppose. Stephen had a hankerin'
a'ter it, but he did not get it. It come easy enough to
the next man that tried. That Spike 's a willian, and the
gold was too good for him. He has no conscience at all to
think of a gal of nineteen! And one fit for his betters, in
the bargain. The time has been when Stephen Spike might
have pretended to Rose Budd's equal. That much I'll ever
maintain, but that time's gone; and, what is more, it will
never come again. I should like Mulford better if he had a
little less conscience. Conscience may do for Uncle Sam's
ships, but it is sometimes in the way aboard a trading craft.
What can a fellow do with a conscience when dollars is to
be smuggled off, or tobacco smuggled ashore? I do suppose
I've about as much conscience as it is useful to have,
and I've got ashore in my day twenty thousand dollars'
worth of stuff, of one sort or another, if I've got ashore the
valie of ten dollars. But Spike carries on business on too
large a scale, and many's the time I've told him so. I
could have forgiven him anything but this attempt on Rose
Budd; and he's altogether too old for that, to say nothing
of other people's rights. He's an up-and-down willian, and
a body can make no more, nor any less of him. That soup
must be near done, and I'll hoist the signal for grub.”

This signal was a blue-peter of which one had been
brought ashore to signal the brig; and with which Jack now
signalled the schooner. If the reader will turn his eyes toward
the last named vessel, he will find the guests whom
Tier expected to surround his table. Rose, her aunt, and

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Biddy were all seated, under an awning made by a sail, on
the deck of the schooner, which now floated so buoyantly
as to show that she had materially lightened since last seen.
Such indeed was the fact, and he who had been the instrument
of producing this change, appeared on deck in the person
of Mulford, as soon as he was told that the blue-peter of
Jack Tier was flying.

The boat of the light-house, that in which Spike had
landed in quest of Rose, was lying alongside of the schooner,
and sufficiently explained the manner in which the mate had
left the brig. This boat, in fact, had been fastened astern,
in the hurry of getting from under the sloop-of-war's fire,
and Mulford had taken the opportunity of the consternation
and frantic efforts produced by the explosion of the last shell
thrown, to descend from his station on the coach-house into
this boat, to cut the painter, and to let the Swash glide away
from him. This the vessel had done with great rapidity,
leaving him unseen under the cover of her stern. As soon
as in the boat, the mate had seized an oar, and sculled to an
islet that was within fifty yards, concealing the boat behind
a low hummock that formed a tiny bay. All this was done
so rapidly, that united to the confusion on board the Swash,
no one discovered the mate or the boat. Had he been seen,
however, it is very little probable that Spike would have lost
a moment of time, in the attempt to recover either. But he
was not seen, and it was the general opinion on board the
Swash, for quite an hour, that her handsome mate had been
knocked overboard and killed, by a fragment of the shell
that had seemed to explode almost in the ears of her people.
When the reef was doubled, however, and Spike made his
preparations for meeting the rough water, he hove to, and
ordered his own yawl, which was also towing astern, to be
hauled up alongside, in order to be hoisted in. Then, indeed,
some glimmerings of the truth were shed on the crew,
who missed the light-house boat. Though many contended
that its painter must also have been cut by a fragment of
the shell, and that the mate had died loyal to roguery and
treason. Mulford was much liked by the crew, and he was
highly valued by Spike, on account of his seamanship and
integrity, this latter being a quality that is just as necessary
for one of the captain's character to meet with in those he

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trusts as to any other man. But Spike thought differently
of the cause of Mulford's disappearance, from his crew. He
ascribed it altogether to love for Rose, when, in truth, it
ought in justice to have been quite as much imputed to a
determination to sail no longer with a man who was clearly
guilty of treason. Of smuggling, Mulford had long suspected
Spike, though he had no direct proof of the fact; but now
he could not doubt that he was not only engaged in supplying
the enemy with the munitions of war, but was actually
bargaining to sell his brig for a hostile cruiser, and possibly
to transfer himself and crew along with her.

It is scarcely necessary to speak of the welcome Mulford
received when he reached the islet of the tent. He and
Rose had a long private conference, the result of which was
to let the handsome mate into the secret of his pretty companion's
true feelings toward himself. She had received
him with tears, and a betrayal of emotion that gave him
every encouragement, and now she did not deny her preference.
In that interview the young people plighted to each
other their troth. Rose never doubted of obtaining her
aunt's consent in due time, all her prejudices being in favour
of the sea and sailors; and should she not, she would soon
be her own mistress, and at liberty to dispose of herself and
her pretty little fortune as she might choose. But a cypher
as she was, in all questions of real moment, Mrs. Budd was
not a person likely to throw any real obstacle in the way
of the young people's wishes; the true grounds of whose
present apprehensions were all to be referred to Spike, his
intentions, and his well-known perseverance. Mulford was
convinced that the brig would be back in quest of the remaining
doubloons, as soon as she could get clear of the
sloop-of-war, though he was not altogether without a hope
that the latter, when she found it impossible to overhaul her
chase, might also return in order to ascertain what discoveries
could be made in and about the schooner. The explosion
of the powder, on the islet, must have put the man-of-war's
men in possession of the secret of the real quality
of the flour that had composed her cargo, and it doubtless
had awakened all their distrust on the subject of the Swash's
real business in the Gulf. Under all the circumstances,
therefore, it did appear quite as probable that one of the

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parties should reappear at the scene of their recent interview
as the other.

Bearing all these things in mind, Mulford had lost no
time in completing his own arrangements. He felt that he
had some atonement to make to the country, for the part
he had seemingly taken in the late events, and it occurred
to him, could he put the schooner in a state to be moved,
then place her in the hands of the authorities, his own peace
would be made, and his character cleared. Rose no sooner
understood his plans and motives, than she entered into
them with all the ardour and self-devotion of her sex; for
the single hour of confidential and frank communication
which had just passed, doubled the interest she felt in Mulford
and in all that belonged to him. Jack Tier was useful
on board a vessel, though his want of stature and force rendered
him less so than was common with sea-faring men.
His proper sphere certainly had been the cabins, where his
usefulness was beyond all cavil; but he was now very serviceable
to Mulford on the deck of the schooner. The first
two days, Mrs. Budd had been left on the islet, to look to
the concerns of the kitchen, while Mulford, accompanied by
Rose, Biddy and Jack Tier, had gone off to the schooner,
and set her pumps in motion again. It was little that Rose
could do, or indeed attempt to do, at this toil, but the pumps
being small and easily worked, Biddy and Jack were of
great service. By the end of the second day the pumps
sucked; the cargo that remained in the schooner, as well
as the form of her bottom, contributing greatly to lessen the
quantity of the water that was to be got out of her.

Then it was that the doubloons fell into Mulford's hands,
along with everything else that remained below decks. It
was perhaps fortunate that the vessel was thoroughly purified
by her immersion, and the articles that were brought
on deck to be dried were found in a condition to give no
great offence to those who removed them. By leaving the
hatches off, and the cabin doors open, the warm winds of
the trades effectually dried the interior of the schooner in
the course of a single night; and when Mulford repaired on
board of her, on the morning of the third day, he found her
in a condition to be fitted for his purposes. On this occasion
Mrs. Budd had expressed a wish to go off to look at

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her future accommodations, and Jack was left on the islet
to cook the dinner, which will explain the actual state of
things as described in the opening of this chapter.

As those who toil usually have a relish for their food, the
appearance of the blue-peter was far from being unwelcome
to those on board of the schooner. They got into the boat,
and were sculled ashore by Mulford, who, seaman-like, used
only one hand in performing this service. In a very few
minutes they were all seated at the little table, which was
brought out into the tent-verandah for the enjoyment of the

“So far, well,” said Mulford, after his appetite was
mainly appeased; Rose picking crumbs, and affecting to
eat, merely to have the air of keeping him company; one
of the minor proofs of the little attentions that spring from
the affections. “So far, well. The sails are bent, and
though they might be never and better, they can be made
to answer. It was fortunate to find anything like a second
suit on board a Mexican craft of that size at all. As it is,
we have foresail, mainsail, and jib, and with that canvas I
think we might beat the schooner down to Key West in the
course of a day and a night. If I dared to venture outside
of the reef, it might be done sooner even, for they tell me
there is a four-knot current sometimes in that track; but I
do not like to venture outside, so short-handed. The current
inside must serve our turn, and we shall get smooth
water by keeping under the lee of the rocks. I only hope
we shall not get into an eddy as we go further from the end
of the reef, and into the bight of the coast.”

“Is there danger of that?” demanded Rose, whose quick
intellect had taught her many of these things, since her
acquaintance with vessels.

“There may be, looking at the formation of the reef and
islands, though I know nothing of the fact by actual observation.
This is my first visit in this quarter.”

“Eddies are serious matters,” put in Mrs. Budd, “and
my poor husband could not abide them. Tides are good
things; but eddies are very disagreeable.”

“Well, aunty, I should think eddies might sometimes be
as welcome as tides. It must depend, however, very much
on the way one wishes to go.”

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“Rose, you surprise me! All that you have read, and
all that you have heard, must have shown you the difference.
Do they not say `a man is floating with the tide,'
when things are prosperous with him—and don't ships drop
down with the tide, and beat the wind with the tide? And
don't vessels sometimes `tide it up to town,' as it is called,
and is n't it thought an advantage to have the tide with you?”

“All very true, aunty; but I do not see how that makes
eddies any the worse.”

“Because eddies are the opposite of tides, child. When
the tide goes one way, the eddy goes another—is n't it so,
Harry Mulford? You never heard of one's floating in an

“That's what we mean by an eddy, Mrs. Budd,” answered
the handsome mate, delighted to hear Rose's aunt
call him by an appellation so kind and familiar,—a thing
she had never done previously to the intercourse which had
been the consequence of their present situation. “Though
I agree with Rose in thinking an eddy may be a good or a
bad thing, and very much like a tide, as one wishes to

“You amaze me, both of you! Tides are always spoken
of favourably, but eddies never. If a ship gets ashore, the
tide can float her off; that I've heard a thousand times.
Then, what do the newspapers say of President—,and
Governor —, and Congressman —?1 Why, that
they all `float in the tide of public opinion,' and that must
mean something particularly good, as they are always in
office. No, no, Harry; I'll acknowledge that you do know
something about ships; a good deal, considering how young
you are; but you have something to learn about eddies.
Never trust one as long as you live.”

Mulford was silent, and Rose took the occasion to change
the discourse.

“I hope we shall soon be able to quit this place,” she
said; “for I confess to some dread of Captain Spike's return.”

“Captain Stephen Spike has greatly disappointed me,”

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observed the aunt, gravely. “I do not know that I was
ever before deceived in judging a person. I could have
sworn he was an honest, frank, well-meaning sailor—a
character, of all others, that I love; but it has turned out

“He's a willian!” mutttered Jack Tier.

Mulford smiled; at which speech we must leave to conjecture;
but he answered Rose, as he ever did, promptly
and with pleasure.

“The schooner is ready, and this must be our last meal
ashore,” he said. “Our outfit will be no great matter; but
if it will carry us down to Key West, I shall ask no more
of it. As for the return of the Swash, I look upon it as
certain. She could easily get clear of the sloop-of-war,
with the start she had, and Spike is a man that never yet
abandoned a doubloon, when he knew where one was to be

“Stephen Spike is like all his fellow-creatures,” put in
Jack Tier, pointedly. “He has his faults, and he has his

“Virtue is a term I should never think of applying to
such a man,” returned Mulford, a little surprised at the fellow's
earnestness. “The word is a big one, and belongs
to quite another class of persons.” Jack muttered a few
syllables that were unintelligible, when again the conversation

Rose now inquired of Mulford as to their prospects of
getting to Key West. He told her that the distance was
about sixty miles; their route lying along the north or inner
side of the Florida Reef. The whole distance was to be
made against the trade-wind, which was then blowing about
an eight-knot breeze, though, bating eddies, they might expect
to be favoured with the current, which was less strong
inside than outside of the reef. As for handling the schooner,
Mulford saw no great difficulty in that. She was not large,
and was both lightly sparred and lightly rigged. All her
top-hamper had been taken down by Spike, and nothing
remained but the plainest and most readily-managed gear.
A fore-and-aft vessel, sailing close by the wind, is not difficult
to steer; will almost steer herself, indeed, in smooth
water. Jack Tier could take his trick at the helm, in any

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weather, even in running before the wind, the time when it
is most difficult to guide a craft, and Rose might be made to
understand the use of the tiller, and taught to govern the
motions of a vessel so small and so simply rigged, when on
a wind and in smooth water. On the score of managing
the schooner, therefore, Mulford thought there would be
little cause for apprehension. Should the weather continue
settled, he had little doubt of safely landing the whole party
at Key West, in the course of the next four-and-twenty
hours. Short sail he should be obliged to carry, as well on
account of the greater facility of managing it, as on account
of the circumstance that the schooner was now in light ballast
trim, and would not bear much canvas. He thought
that the sooner they left the islets the better, as it could not
be long ere the brig would be seen hovering around the
spot. All these matters were discussed as the party still sat
at table; and when they left it, which was a few minutes
later, it was to remove the effects they intended to carry
away to the boat. This was soon done, both Jack Tier and
Biddy proving very serviceable, while Rose tripped backward
and forward, with a step elastic as a gazelle's, carrying
light burdens. In half an hour the boat was ready.
“Here lies the bag of doubloons still,” said Mulford, smiling.
“Is it to be left, or shall we give it up to the admiralty court
at Key West, and put in a claim for salvage?”

“Better leave it for Spike,” said Jack unexpectedly.
“Should he come back, and find the doubloons, he may be
satisfied, and not look for the schooner. On the other hand,
when the vessel is missing, he will think that the money is
in her. Better leave it for old Stephen.”

“I do not agree with you, Tier,” said Rose, though she
looked as amicably at the steward's assistant, as she thus
opposed his opinion, as if anxious to persuade rather than
coerce. “I do not quite agree with you. This money belongs
to the Spanish merchant; and, as we take away with
us his vessel, to give it up to the authorities at Key West, I
do not think we have a right to put his gold on the shore
and abandon it.”

This disposed of the question. Mulford took the bag, and
carried it to the boat, without waiting to ascertain if Jack
had any objection; while the whole party followed. In a

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few minutes everybody and everything in the boat were
transferred to the deck of the schooner. As for the tent,
the old sails of which it was made, the furniture it contained,
and such articles of provisions as were not wanted, they
were left on the islet, without regret. The schooner had
several casks of fresh water, which were found in her hold,
and she had also a cask or two of salted meats, besides
several articles of food more delicate, that had been provided
by Señor Montefalderon for his own use, and which had not
been damaged by the water. A keg of Boston crackers
were among these eatables, quite half of which were still in
a state to be eaten. They were Biddy's delight; and it was
seldom that she could be seen when not nibbling at one of
them. The bread of the crew was hopelessly damaged.
But Jack had made an ample provision of bread when sent
ashore, and there was still a hundred barrels of the flour in
the schooner's hold. One of these had been hoisted on deck
by Mulford, and opened. The injured flour was easily removed,
leaving a considerable quantity fit for the uses of the
kitchen. As for the keg of gunpowder, it was incontinently
committed to the deep.

Thus provided for, Mulford decided that the time had arrived
when he ought to quit his anchorage. He had been
employed most of that morning in getting the schooner's
anchor, a work of great toil to him, though everybody had
assisted. He had succeeded, and the vessel now rode by a
kedge, that he could easily weigh by means of a deck tackle.
It remained now, therefore, to lift this kedge and to stand
out of the bay of the islets. No sooner was the boat secured
astern, and its freight disposed of, than the mate began to
make sail. In order to hoist the mainsail well up, he was
obliged to carry the halyards to the windlass. Thus aided,
he succeeded without much difficulty. He and Jack Tier
and Biddy got the jib hoisted by hand; and as for the foresail,
that would almost set itself. Of course, it was not
touched until the kedge was aweigh. Mulford found little
difficulty in lifting the last, and he soon had the satisfaction
of finding his craft clear of the ground. As Jack Tier was
every way competent to take charge of the forecastle, Mulford
now sprang aft, and took his own station at the helm;
Rose acting as his pretty assistant on the quarter-deck.

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There is little mystery in getting a fore-and-aft vessel
under way. Her sails fill almost as a matter of course, and
motion follows as a necessary law. Thus did it prove with
the Mexican schooner, which turned out to be a fast-sailing
and an easily-worked craft. She was, indeed, an American
bottom, as it is termed, having been originally built for the
Chesapeake; and, though not absolutely what is understood
by a Baltimore clipper, so nearly of that mould and nature
as to possess some of the more essential qualities. As usually
happens, however, when a foreigner gets hold of an
American schooner, the Mexicans had shortened her masts
and lessened her canvas. This circumstance was rather an
advantage to Mulford, who would probably have had more
to attend to than he wished under the original rig of the

Everybody, even to the fastidious Mrs. Budd, was delighted
with the easy and swift movement of the schooner.
Mulford, now he had got her under canvas, handled her
without any difficulty, letting her stand toward the channel
through which he intended to pass, with her sheets just taken
in, though compelled to keep a little off, in order to enter
between the islets. No difficulty occurred, however, and in
less than ten minutes the vessel was clear of the channels,
and in open water. The sheets were now flattened in, and
the schooner brought close by the wind. A trial of the vessel
on this mode of sailing was no sooner made, than Mulford
was induced to regret he had taken so many precautions
against any increasing power of the wind. To meet emergencies,
and under the notion he should have his craft more
under command, the young man had reefed his mainsail,
and taken the bonnets off of the foresail and jib. As the
schooner stood up better than he had anticipated, the mate
felt as all seamen are so apt to feel, when they see that their
vessels might be made to perform more than is actually got
out of them. As the breeze was fresh, however, he determined
not to let out the reef; and the labour of lacing on
the bonnets again was too great to be thought of just at that

We all find relief on getting in motion, when pressed by
circumstances. Mulford had been in great apprehension
of the re-appearance of the Swash all that day; for it was

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about the time when Spike would be apt to return, in the
event of his escaping from the sloop-of-war, and he dreaded
Rose's again falling into the hands of a man so desperate.
Nor is it imputing more than a very natural care to the
young man, to say that he had some misgivings concerning
himself. Spike, by this time, must be convinced that his
business in the Gulf was known; and one who had openly
thrown off his service, as his mate had done, would unquestionably
be regarded as a traitor to his interests, whatever
might be the relation in which he would stand to the laws
of the country. It was probable such an alleged offender
would not be allowed to appear before the tribunals of the
land, to justify himself and to accuse the truly guilty, if it
were in the power of the last to prevent it. Great, therefore,
was the satisfaction of our handsome young mate when
he found himself again fairly in motion, with a craft under
him, that glided ahead in a way to prove that she might
give even the Swash some trouble to catch her, in the event
of a trial of speed.

Everybody entered into the feelings of Mulford, as the
schooner passed gallantly out from between the islets, and
entered the open water. Fathom by fathom did her wake
rapidly increase, until it could no longer be traced back as
far as the sandy beaches that had just been left. In a quarter
of an hour more, the vessel had drawn so far from the
land, that some of the smaller and lowest of the islets were
getting to be indistinct. At that instant everybody had
come aft, the females taking their seats on the trunk, which,
in this vessel as in the Swash herself, gave space and height
to the cabin.

“Well,” exclaimed Mrs. Budd, who found the freshness
of the sea air invigorating, as well as their speed exciting,
“this is what I call maritime, Rosy, dear. This is what is
meant by the Maritime States, about which we read so
much, and which are commonly thought to be so important.
We are now in a Maritime State, and I feel perfectly happy
after all our dangers and adventures!”

“Yes, aunty, and I am delighted that you are happy,”
answered Rose, with frank affection. “We are now rid of
that infamous Spike, and may hope never to see his face

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“Stephen Spike has his good p'ints as well as another,”
said Jack Tier, abruptly.

“I know that he is an old shipmate of yours, Tier, and
that you cannot forget how he once stood connected with
you, and am sorry I have said so much against him,” answered
Rose, expressing her concern even more by her
looks and tones, than by her words.

Jack was mollified by this, and he let his feeling be seen,
though he said no more than to mutter, “He's a willian!”
words that had frequently issued from his lips within the
last day or two.

“Stephen Spike is a capital seaman, and that is something
in any man,” observed the relict of Captain Budd.
“He learned his trade from one who was every way qualified
to teach him, and it's no wonder he should be expert.
Do you expect, Mr. Mulford, to beat the wind the whole
distance to Key West?”

It was not possible for any one to look more grave than
the mate did habitually, while the widow was floundering
through her sea-terms. Rose had taught him that respect
for her aunt was to be one of the conditions of her own
regard, though Rose had never opened her lips to him on
the subject.

“Yes, ma'am,” answered the mate, respectfully, “we are
in the trades, and shall have to turn to windward, every
inch of the way to Key West.”

“Of what lock is this place the key, Rosy?” asked the
aunt, innocently enough. “I know that forts and towns
are sometimes called keys, but they always have locks of
some sort or other. Now, Gibraltar is the key of the Mediterranean,
as your uncle has told me fifty times; and I
have been there, and can understand why it should be,—
but I do not know of what lock this West is the key.”

“It is not that sort of key which is meant, aunty, at all—
but quite a different thing. The key meant is an island.”

“And why should any one be so silly as to call an island
a key?”

“The place where vessels unload is sometimes called a
key,” answered Mulford;—“the French calling it a quai,
and the Dutch kaye. I suppose our English word is derived
from these. Now, a low, sandy island, looking somewhat

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like keys, or wharves, seamen have given them this name.
Key West is merely a low island.”

“Then there is no lock to it, or anything to be unfastened,”
said the widow, in her most simple manner.

“It may turn out to be the key to the Gulf of Mexico,
one of these days, ma'am. Uncle Sam is surveying the
reef, and intends to do something here, I believe. When
Uncle Sam is really in earnest, he is capable of performing
great things.”

Mrs. Budd was satisfied with this explanation, though she
told Biddy that evening, that “locks and keys go together,
and that the person who christened the island to which they
were going, must have been very weak in his upper story.”
But these reflections on the intellects of her fellow-creatures
were by no means uncommon with the worthy relict; and
we cannot say that her remarks made any particular impression
on her Irish maid.

In the mean time, the Mexican schooner behaved quite
to Mulford's satisfaction. He thought her a little tender in
the squalls, of which they had several that afternoon; but
he remarked to Rose, who expressed her uneasiness at the
manner in which the vessel lay over in one of them, that
“she comes down quite easy to her bearings, but it is hard
forcing her beyond them. The vessel needs more cargo to
ballast her, though, on the whole, I find her as stiff as one
could expect. I am now glad that I reefed, and reduced
the head sails, though I was sorry at having done so when
we first came out. At this rate of sailing, we ought to be
up with Key West by morning.”

But that rate of sailing did not continue. Toward evening,
the breeze lessened almost to a calm again, the late
tornado appearing to have quite deranged the ordinary stability
of the trades. When the sun set, and it went down
into the broad waters of the Gulf a flood of flame, there was
barely a two-knot breeze, and Mulford had no longer any
anxiety on the subject of keeping his vessel on her legs.
His solicitude, now, was confined to the probability of falling
in with the Swash. As yet, nothing was visible, either in
the shape of land or in that of a sail. Between the islets
of the Dry Tortugas and the next nearest visible keys, there
is a space of open water, of some forty miles in width. The

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reef extends across it, of course; but nowhere does the
rock protrude itself above the surface of the sea. The
depth of water on this reef varies essentially. In some
places, a ship of size might pass on to it, if not across it;
while in others a man could wade for miles. There is one
deep and safe channel—safe to those who are acquainted
with it—through the centre of this open space, and which is
sometimes used by vessels that wish to pass from one side
to the other; but it is ever better for those whose business
does not call them in that direction, to give the rocks a good
berth, more especially in the night.

Mulford had gleaned many of the leading facts connected
with the channels, and the navigation of those waters, from
Spike and the older seamen of the brig, during the time
they had been lying at the Tortugas. Such questions and
answers are common enough on board ships, and, as they
are usually put and given with intelligence, one of our
mate's general knowledge of his profession, was likely to
carry away much useful information. By conversations
of this nature, and by consulting the charts, which Spike
did not affect to conceal after the name of his port became
known, the young man, in fact, had so far made himself
master of the subject, as to have tolerably accurate notions
of the courses, distances, and general peculiarities of the
reef. When the sun went down, he supposed himself to be
about half-way across the space of open water, and some
five-and-twenty miles dead to windward of his port of departure.
This was doing very well for the circumstances,
and Mulford believed himself and his companions clear of
spike, when, as night drew its veil over the tranquil sea,
nothing was in sight.

A very judicious arrangement was made for the watches
on board the Mexican schooner, on this important night.
Mrs. Budd had a great fancy to keep a watch, for once in
her life, and, after the party had supped, and the subject
came up in the natural course of things, a dialogue like this

“Harry must be fatigued,” said Rose, kindly, “and must
want sleep. The wind is so light, and the weather appears
to be so settled, that I think it would be better for him to
`turn in,' as he calls it;”—here Rose laughed so prettily

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that the handsome mate wished she would repeat the words,—
“better that he should `turn in' now, and we can call
him, should there be need of his advice or assistance. I
dare say Jack Tier and I can take very good care of the
schooner until daylight.”

Mrs. Budd thought it would be no more than proper for
one of her experience and years to rebuke this levity, as
well as to enlighten the ignorance her niece had betrayed.

“You should be cautious, my child, how you propose
anything to be done on a ship's board,” observed the aunt.
“It requires great experience and a suitable knowledge of
rigging to give maritime advice. Now, as might have been
expected, considering your years, and the short time you
have been at sea, you have made several serious mistakes
in what you have proposed. In the first place, there should
always be a mate on the deck, as I have heard your dear
departed uncle say, again and again; and how can there be
a mate on the deck if Mr. Mulford `turns in,' as you propose,
seeing that he's the only mate we have. Then you
should never laugh at any maritime expression, for each
and all are, as a body might say, solemnized by storms and
dangers. That Harry is fatigued I think is very probable;
and he must set our watches, as they call it, when he can
make his arrangements for the night, and take his rest as is
usual. Here is my watch to begin with; and I'll engage
he does not find it two minutes out of the way, though yours,
Rosy dear, like most girl's time-pieces, is, I'll venture to
say, dreadfully wrong. Where is your chronometer, Mr.
Mulford? let us see how this excellent watch of mine, which
was once my poor departed Mr. Budd's, will agree with that
piece of your's, which I have heard you say is excellent.”

Here was a flight in science and nautical language that
poor Mulford could not have anticipated, even in the captain's
relict! That Mrs. Budd should mistake “setting the
watch” for “setting our watches,” was not so very violent
a blunder that one ought to be much astonished at it in her;
but that she should expect to find a chronometer that was
intended to keep the time of Greenwich, agreeing with a
watch that was set for the time of New York, betrayed a
degree of ignorance that the handsome mate was afraid
Rose would resent on him, when the mistake was made to

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appear. As the widow held out her own watch for the
comparison, however, he could not refuse to produce his
own. By Mrs. Budd's watch it was past seven o'clock, while
by his own, or the Greenwich-set chronometer, it was a little
past twelve.

“How very wrong your watch is, Mr. Mulford,” cried
the good lady, “notwithstanding all you have said in its
favour. It's quite five hours too fast, I do declare; and
now, Rosy dear, you see the importance of setting watches
on a ship's board, as is done every evening, my departed
husband has often told me.”

“Harry's must be what he calls a dog-watch, aunty,” said
Rose, laughing, though she scarce knew at what.

“The watch goes, too,” added the widow, raising the
chronometer to her ear, “though it is so very wrong. Well,
set it, Mr. Mulford; then we will set Rose's, which I'll engage
is half an hour out of the way, though it can never be
as wrong as yours.”

Mulford was a good deal embarrassed, but he gained
courage by looking at Rose, who appeared to him to be
quite as much mystified as her aunt. For once he hoped
Rose was ignorant; for nothing would be so likely to diminish
the feeling produced by the exposure of the aunt's
mistake, as to include the niece in the same category.

“My watch is a chronometer, you will recollect, Mrs.
Budd,” said the young man.

“I know it; and they ought to keep the very best time—
that I've always heard. My poor Mr. Budd had two, and
they were as large as compasses, and sold for hundreds after
his lamented decease.”

“They were ship's chronometers, but mine was made for
the pocket. It is true, chronometers are intended to keep
the most accurate time, and usually they do; this of mine,
in particular, would not lose ten seconds in a twelvemonth,
did I not carry it on my person.”

“No, no, it does not seem to lose any, Harry; it only
gains,” cried Rose, laughing.

Mulford was now satisfied, notwithstanding all that had
passed on a previous occasion, that the laughing, bright-eyed,
and quick-witted girl at his elbow, knew no more of
the uses of a chronometer than her unusually dull and

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ignorant aunt; and he felt himself relieved from all embarrassment
at once. Though he dared not even seem to distrust
Mrs. Budd's intellect or knowledge before Rose, he did not
scruple to laugh at Rose herself, to Rose. With her there
was no jealousy on the score of capacity, her quickness
being almost as obvious to all who approached her as her

“Rose Budd, you do not understand the uses of a chronometer,
I see,” said the mate, firmly, “notwithstanding all I
have told you concerning them.”

“It is to keep time, Harry Mulford, is it not?”

“True, to keep time—but to keep the time of a particular
meridian; you know what meridian means, I hope?”

Rose looked intently at her lover, and she looked singularly
lovely, for she blushed slightly, though her smile was
as open and amicable as ingenuousness and affection could
make it.

“A meridian means a point over our heads—the spot
where the sun is at noon,” said Rose, doubtingly.

“Quite right; but it also means longitude, in one sense.
If you draw a line from one pole to the other, all the places
it crosses are on the same meridian. As the sun first appears
in the east, it follows that he rises sooner in places
that are east, than in places that are further west. Thus it
is, that at Greenwich, in England, where there is an observatory
made for nautical purposes, the sun rises about five
hours sooner than it does here. All this difference is subject
to rules, and we know exactly how to measure it.”

“How can that be, Harry? You told me this but the
other day, yet have I forgotten it.”

“Quite easily. As the earth turns round in just twenty-four
hours, and its circumference is divided into three hundred
and sixty equal parts, called degrees, we have only to
divide 360 by 24, to know how many of these degrees are
included in the difference produced by one hour of time.
There are just fifteen of them, as you will find by multiplying
24 by 15. It follows that the sun rises just one hour
later, each fifteen degrees of longitude, as you go west, or
one hour earlier each fifteen degrees of longitude as you go
east. Having ascertained the difference by the hour, it is
easy enough to calculate for the minutes and seconds.”

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“Yes, yes,” said Rose, eagerly, “I see all that—go on.”

“Now a chronometer is nothing but a watch, made with
great care, so as not to lose or gain more than a few seconds
in a twelvemonth. Its whole merit is in keeping time accurately.”

“Still I do not see how that can be anything more than
a very good watch.”

“You will see in a minute, Rose. For purposes that you
will presently understand, books are calculated for certain
meridians, or longitudes, as at Greenwich and Paris, and
those who use the books calculated for Greenwich, get their
chronometers set at Greenwich, and those who use the
Paris, get their chronometers set to Paris time. When I
was last in England, I took this watch to Greenwich, and
had it set at the Observatory by the true solar time. Ever
since it has been running by that time, and what you see
here is the true Greenwich time, after allowing for a second
or two that it may have lost or gained.”

“All that is plain enough,” said the much interested
Rose—“but of what use is it all?”

“To help mariners to find their longitude at sea, and thus
know where they are. As the sun passes so far north, and
so far south of the equator each year, it is easy enough to
find the latitude, by observing his position at noon-day; but
for a long time seamen had great difficulty in ascertaining
their longitudes. That, too, is done by observing the different
heavenly bodies, and with greater accuracy than by
any other process; but this thought of measuring the time
is very simple, and so easily put in practice, that we all run
by it now.”

“Still I cannot understand it,” said Rose, looking so intently,
so eagerly, and so intelligently into the handsome
mate's eyes, that he found it was pleasant to teach her other
things besides how to love.

“I will explain it. Having the Greenwich time in the
watch, we observe the sun, in order to ascertain the true
time, wherever we may happen to be. It is a simple thing
to ascertain the true time of day by an observation of the
sun, which marks the hours in his track; and when we get
our observation, we have some one to note the time at a
particular instant on the chronometer. By noting the hour,

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minutes, and seconds, at Greenwich, at the very instant we
observe here, when we have calculated from that observation
the time here, we have only to add, or subtract, the
time here from that of Greenwich, to know precisely how
far east or west we are from Greenwich, which gives us
our longitude.”

“I begin to comprehend it again,” exclaimed Rose, delighted
at the acquisition in knowledge she had just made.
“How beautiful it is, yet how simple—but why do I forget

“Perfectly simple, and perfectly sure, too, when the
chronometer is accurate, and the observations are nicely
made. It is seldom we are more than eight or ten miles
out of the way, and for them we keep a look-out. It is only
to ascertain the time where you are, by means that are easily
used, then look at your watch to learn the time of day at
Greenwich, or any other meridian you may have selected,
and to calculate your distance, east or west, from that meridian,
by the difference in the two times.”

Rose could have listened all night, for her quick mind
readily comprehended the principle which lies at the bottom
of this useful process, though still ignorant of some of the
details. This time she was determined to secure her acquisition,
though it is quite probable that, woman-like, they
were once more lost, almost as easily as made. Mulford,
however, was obliged to leave her, to look at the vessel,
before he stretched himself on the deck, in an old sail; it
having been previously determined that he should sleep first,
while the wind was light, and that Jack Tier, assisted by the
females, should keep the first watch. Rose would not detain
the mate, therefore, but let him go his way, in order to see
that all was right before he took his rest.

Mrs. Budd had listened to Mulford's second explanation
of the common mode of ascertaining the longitude, with all
the attention of which she was capable; but it far exceeded
the powers of her mind to comprehend it. There are persons
who accustom themselves to think so superficially, that
it becomes a painful process to attempt to dive into any of
the arcana of nature, and who ever turn from such investigations
wearied and disgusted. Many of these persons,
perhaps most of them, need only a little patience and

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perseverance to comprehend all the more familiar phenomena,
but they cannot command even that much of the two qualities
named to obtain the knowledge they would fain wish to
possess. Mrs. Budd did not belong to a division as high in
the intellectual scale as even this vapid class. Her intellect
was unequal to embracing anything of an abstracted character,
and only received the most obvious impressions, and
those quite half the time it received wrong. The mate's
reasoning, therefore, was not only inexplicable to her, but it
sounded absurd and impossible.

“Rosy, dear,” said the worthy relict, as soon as she saw
Mulford stretch his fine frame on his bed of canvas, speaking
at the same time in a low, confidential tone to her niece,
“what was it that Harry was telling you a little while ago?
It sounded to me like rank nonsense; and men will talk
nonsense to young girls, as I have so often warned you,
child. You must never listen to their nonsense, Rosy; but
remember your catechism and confirmation vow, and be a
good girl.”

To how many of the feeble-minded and erring do those
offices of the church prove a stay and support, when their
own ordinary powers of resistance would fail them! Rose,
however, viewed the matter just as it was, and answered

“But this was nothing of that nature, aunty,” she said,
“and only an account of the mode of finding out where a
ship is, when out of sight of land, in the middle of the ocean.
We had the same subject up the other day.”

“And how did Harry tell you, this time, that was done,
my dear?”

“By finding the difference in the time of day between
two places—just as he did before.”

“But there is no difference in the time of day, child, when
the clocks go well.”

“Yes, there is, aunty dear, as the sun rises in one place
before it does in another.”

“Rose you've been listening to nonsense now! Remember
what I have so often told you about young men, and
their way of talking. I admit Harry Mulford is a respectable
youth, and has respectable connections, and since you
like one another, you may have him, with all my heart, as

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soon as he gets a full-jiggered ship, for I am resolved no
niece of my poor dear husband's shall ever marry a mate,
or a captain even, unless he has a full-jiggered ship under
his feet. But do not talk nonsense with him. Nonsense
is nonsense, though a sensible man talks it. As for all this
stuff about the time of day, you can see it is nonsense, as
the sun rises but once in twenty-four hours, and of course
there cannot be two times, as you call it.”

“But, aunty dear, it is not always noon at London when
it is noon at New York.”

“Fiddle-faddle, child; noon is noon, and there are no
more two noons than two suns, or two times. Distrust
what young men tell you, Rosy, if you would be safe, though
they should tell you you are handsome.”

Poor Rose sighed, and gave up the explanation in despair.
Then a smile played around her pretty mouth. It was not
at her aunt that she smiled; this she never permitted herself
to do, weak as was that person, and weak as she saw
her to be; she smiled at the recollection how often Mulford
had hinted at her good looks—for Rose was a female, and
had her own weaknesses, as well as another. But the necessity
of acting soon drove these thoughts from her mind,
and Rose sought Jack Tier, to confer with him on the subject
of their new duties.

As for Harry Mulford, his head was no sooner laid on its
bunch of sail than he fell into a profound sleep. There he
lay, slumbering as the seaman slumbers, with no sense of
surrounding things. The immense fatigues of that and of
the two preceding days,—for he had toiled at the pumps
even long after night had come, until the vessel was clear,—
weighed him down, and nature was now claiming her influence,
and taking a respite from exertion. Had he been left
to himself, it is probable the mate would not have arisen
until the sun had reappeared some hours.

It is now necessary to explain more minutely the precise
condition, as well as the situation of the schooner. On
quitting his port, Mulford had made a stretch of some two
leagues in length, toward the northward and eastward, when
he tacked and stood to the southward. There was enough
of southing in the wind, to make his last course nearly due
south. As he neared the reef, he found that he fell in some

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miles to the eastward of the islets,—proof that he was doing
very well, and that there was no current to do him any
material harm, if, indeed, there were not actually a current
in his favour. He next tacked to the northward again, and
stood in that direction until near night, when he once more
went about. The wind was now so light that he saw little
prospect of getting in with the reef again, until the return
of day; but as he had left orders with Jack Tier to be called
at twelve o'clock, at all events, this gave him no uneasiness.
At the time when the mate lay down to take his rest, therefore,
the schooner was quite five-and-twenty miles to windward
of the Dry Tortugas, and some twenty miles to the
northward of the Florida Reef, with the wind quite light at
east-south-east. Such, then, was the position or situation
of the schooner.

As respects her condition, it is easily described. She had
but the three sails bent,—mainsail, foresail, and jib. Her
topmasts had been struck, and all the hamper that belonged
to them was below. The mainsail was single reefed, and
the foresail and jib were without their bonnets, as has already
been mentioned. This was somewhat short canvas, but
Mulford knew that it would render his craft more manageable
in the event of a blow. Usually, at that season and
in that region, the east trades prevailed with great steadiness,
sometimes diverging a little south of east, as at present,
and generally blowing fresh. But, for a short time previously
to, and ever since the tornado, the wind had been
unsettled, the old currents appearing to regain their ascendancy
by fits, and then losing it, in squalls, contrary currents,
and even by short calms.

The conference between Jack Tier and Rose was frank
and confidential.

“We must depend mainly on you,” said the latter, turning
to look toward the spot where Mulford lay, buried in
the deepest sleep that had ever gained power over him.
“Harry is so fatigued! It would be shameful to awaken
him a moment sooner than is necessary.”

“Ay, ay; so it is always with young women, when they
lets a young man gain their ears,” answered Jack, without
the least circumlocution; “so it is, and so it always will
be, I'm afeard. Nevertheless, men is willians.”

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Rose was not affronted at this plain allusion to the power
that Mulford had obtained over her feelings. It would seem
that Jack had got to be so intimate in the cabins, that his
sex was, in a measure, forgotten; and it is certain that his
recent services were not. Without a question, but for his
interference, the pretty Rose Budd would, at that moment,
have been the prisoner of Spike, and most probably the victim
of his design to compel her to marry him.

“All men are not Stephen Spikes,” said Rose, earnestly,
“and least of all is Harry Mulford to be reckoned as one
of his sort. But, we must manage to take care of the
schooner the whole night, and let Harry get his rest. He
wished to be called at twelve, but we can easily let the hour
go by, and not awaken him.”

“The commanding officer ought not to be sarved so, Miss
Rose. What he says is to be done.”

“I know it, Jack, as to ordinary matters; but Harry left
these orders that we might have our share of rest, and for
no other reason at all. And what is to prevent our having
it? We are four, and can divide ourselves into two watches;
one watch can sleep while the other keeps a look-out.”

“Ay, ay, and pretty watches they would be! There's
Madam Budd, now; why, she's quite a navigator, and
knows all about weerin' and haulin', and I dares to say could
put the schooner about, to keep her off the reef, on a pinch;
though which way the craft would come round, could best
be told a'ter it has been done. It's as much as I'd undertake
myself, Miss Rose, to take care of the schooner, should
it come on to blow; and as for you, Madam Budd, and that
squalling Irishwoman, you'd be no better than so many
housewives ashore.”

“We have strength, and we have courage, and we can
pull, as you have seen. I know very well which way to put
the helm now, and Biddy is as strong as you are yourself,
and could help me all I wished. Then we could always
call you, at need, and have your assistance. Nay, Harry
himself can be called, if there should be a real necessity for
it, and I do wish he may not be disturbed until there is that

It was with a good deal of reluctance that Jack allowed
himself to be persuaded into this scheme. He insisted, for

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a long time, that an officer should be called at the hour
mentioned by himself, and declared he had never known
such an order neglected, “marchant-man, privateer, or man-of-war.”
Rose prevailed over his scruples, however, and there
was a meeting of the three females to make the final arrangements.
Mrs. Budd, a kind-hearted woman, at the worst,
gave her assent most cheerfully, though Rose was a little
startled with the nature of the reasoning, with which it was

“You are quite right, Rosy dear,” said the aunt, “and
the thing is very easily done. I've long wanted to keep one
watch, at sea; just one watch; to complete my maritime
education. Your poor uncle used to say, `Give my wife
but one night-watch, and you'd have as good a seaman in
her as heart could wish.' I'm sure I've had night-watches
enough with him and his ailings; but it seems that they were
not the sort of watches he meant. Indeed, I did n't know
till this evening there were so many watches in the world,
at all. But this is just what I want, and just what I'm resolved
to have. Tier shall command one watch and I'll
command the other. Jack's shall be the `dog-watch,' as
they call it, and mine shall be the `middle-watch,' and last
till morning. You shall be in Jack's watch, Rose, and
Biddy shall be in mine. You know a good deal that Jack
do n't know, and Biddy can do a good deal I'm rather too
stout to do. I do n't like pulling ropes, but as for ordering,
I'll turn my back on no captain's widow out of York.”

Rose had her own misgivings on the subject of her aunt's
issuing orders on such a subject to any one, but she made
the best of necessity, and completed the arrangements without
further discussion. Her great anxiety was to secure a
good night's rest for Harry, already feeling a woman's care
in the comfort and ease of the man she loved. And Rose
did love Harry Mulford warmly and sincerely. If the very
decided preference with which she regarded him before they
sailed, had not absolutely amounted to passion, it had come
so very near it as to render that access of feeling certain,
under the influence of the association and events which succeeded.
We have not thought it necessary to relate a tithe
of the interviews and intercourse that had taken place between
the handsome mate and the pretty Rose Budd, during

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the month they had now been shipmates, having left the
reader to imagine the natural course of things, under such
circumstances. Nevertheless, the plighted troth had not been
actually given until Harry joined her on the islet, at a moment
when she fancied herself abandoned to a fate almost
as serious as death. Rose had seen Mulford quit the brig,
had watched the mode and manner of his escape, and in
almost breathless amazement, and felt how dear to her he
had become, by the glow of delight which warmed her heart,
when assured that he could not, would not, forsake her, even
though he remained at the risk of life. She was now, true
to the instinct of her sex, mostly occupied in making such a
return for an attachment so devoted as became her tenderness
and the habits of her mind.

As Mrs. Budd chose what she was pleased to term the
`middle-watch,' giving to Jack Tier and Rose her `dog-watch,
' the two last were first on duty. It is scarcely necessary
to say, the captain's widow got the names of the
watches all wrong, as she got the names of everything else
about a vessel; but the plan was to divide the night equally
between these quasi mariners, giving the first half to those
who were first on the look-out, and the remainder to their
successors. It soon became so calm, that Jack left the helm,
and came and sat by Rose, on the trunk, where they conversed
confidentially for a long time. Although the reader
will, hereafter, be enabled to form some plausible conjectures
on the subject of this dialogue, we shall give him no part
of it here. All that need now be said, is to add, that Jack
did most of the talking, that his past life was the principal
theme, and that the terrible Stephen Spike, he from whom
they were now so desirous of escaping, was largely mixed
up with the adventures recounted. Jack found in his companion
a deeply interested listener, although this was by no
means the first time they had gone over together the same
story and discussed the same events. The conversation lasted
until Tier, who watched the glass, seeing that its sands had
run out for the last time, announced the hour of midnight.
This was the moment when Mulford should have been called,
but when Mrs. Budd and Biddy Noon were actually awakened
in his stead.

“Now, dear aunty,” said Rose, as she parted from the

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new watch to go and catch a little sleep herself, “remember
you are not to awaken Harry first, but to call Tier and
myself. It would have done your heart good to have seen
how sweetly he has been sleeping all this time. I do not
think he has stirred once since his head was laid on that
bunch of sails, and there he is, at this moment, sleeping like
an infant!”

“Yes,” returned the relict, “it is always so with your
true maritime people. I have been sleeping a great deal
more soundly, the whole of the dog-watch, than I ever slept
at home, in my own excellent bed. But it's your watch
below, Rosy, and contrary to rule for you to stay on the
deck, after you've been relieved. I've heard this a thousand

Rose was not sorry to lie down; and her head was scarcely
on its pillow, in the cabin, before she was fast asleep. As
for Jack, he found a place among Mulford's sails, and was
quickly in the same state.

To own the truth, Mrs. Budd was not quite as much at
ease, in her new station, for the first half hour, as she had
fancied to herself might prove to be the case. It was a flat
calm, it is true; but the widow felt oppressed with responsibility
and the novelty of her situation. Time and again
had she said, and even imagined, she should be delighted to
fill the very station she then occupied, or to be in charge of
a deck, in a “middle watch.” In this instance, however,
as in so many others, reality did not equal anticipation.
She wished to be doing everything, but did not know how
to do anything. As for Biddy, she was even worse off than
her mistress. A month's experience, or for that matter a
twelvemonth's, could not unravel to her the mysteries of
even a schooner's rigging. Mrs. Budd had placed her “at
the wheel,” as she called it, though the vessel had no wheel,
being steered by a tiller on deck, in the 'long-shore fashion.
In stationing Biddy, the widow told her that she was to play
“tricks at the wheel,” leaving it to the astounded Irish
woman's imagination to discover what those tricks were.
Failing in ascertaining what might be the nature of her
“tricks at the wheel,” Biddy was content to do nothing, and
nothing, under the circumstances, was perhaps the very best
thing she could have done.

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Little was required to be done for the first four hours of
Mrs. Budd's watch. All that time, Rose slept in her berth,
and Mulford and Jack Tier on their sail, while Biddy had
played the wheel a “trick,” indeed, by lying down on deck,
and sleeping, too, as soundly as if she were in the county
Down itself. But there was to be an end of this tranquillity.
Suddenly the wind began to blow. At first, the breeze
came in fitful puffs, which were neither very strong nor very
lasting. This induced Mrs. Budd to awaken Biddy. Luckily,
a schooner without a topsail could not very well be taken
aback, especially as the head-sheets worked on travellers,
and Mrs. Budd and her assistant contrived to manage the
tiller very well for the first hour that these varying puffs of
wind lasted. It is true, the tiller was lashed, and it is also
true, the schooner ran in all directions, having actually
headed to all the cardinal points of the compass, under her
present management. At length, Mrs. Budd became alarmed.
A puff of wind came so strong, as to cause the vessel to lie
over so far as to bring the water into the lee scuppers. She
called Jack Tier herself, therefore, and sent Biddy down to
awaken Rose. In a minute, both these auxiliaries appeared
on deck. The wind just then lulled, and Rose, supposing
her aunt was frightened at trifles, insisted on it that Harry
should be permitted to sleep on. He had turned over once,
in the course of the night, but not once had he raised his
head from his pillow.

As soon as reinforced, Mrs. Budd began to bustle about,
and to give commands, such as they were, in order to prove
that she was unterrified. Jack Tier gaped at her elbow,
and by way of something to do, he laid his hand on the
painter of the Swash's boat, which boat was towing astern,
and remarked that “some know-nothing had belayed it with
three half-hitches.” This was enough for the relict. She
had often heard the saying that “three half-hitches lost the
king's long-boat,” and she busied herself, at once, in repairing
so imminent an evil. It was far easier for the good woman
to talk than to act; she became what is called “all fingers
and thumbs,” and in loosening the third half-hitch, she cast
off the two others. At that instant, a puff of wind struck
the schooner again, and the end of the painter got away
from the widow, who had a last glimpse at the boat, as the

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vessel darted ahead, leaving its little tender to vanish in the
gloom of the night.

Jack was excessively provoked at this accident, for he
had foreseen the possibility of having recourse to that boat
yet, in order to escape from Spike. By abandoning the
schooner, and pulling on to the reef, it might have been
possible to get out of their pursuer's hands, when all other
means should fail them. As he was at the tiller, he put his
helm up, and ran off, until far enough to leeward to be to
the westward of the boat, when he might tack, fetch and
recover it. Nevertheless, it now blew much harder than he
liked, for the schooner seemed to be unusually tender. Had
he had the force to do it, he would have brailed the foresail.
He desired Rose to call Mulford, but she hesitated about

“Call him—call the mate, I say,” cried out Jack, in a
voice that proved how much he was in earnest. “These
puffs come heavy, I can tell you, and they come often, too.
Call him—call him, at once, Miss Rose, for it is time to
tack if we wish to recover the boat. Tell him, too, to brail
the foresail, while we are in stays—that's right; another
call will start him up.”

The other call was given, aided by a gentle shake from
Rose's hand. Harry was on his feet in a moment. A passing
instant was necessary to clear his faculties, and to recover
the tenor of his thoughts. During that instant, the mate
heard Jack Tier's shrill cry of “Hard a-lee—get in that
foresail—bear a-hand—in with it, I say!”

The wind came rushing and roaring, and the flaps of the
canvas were violent and heavy.

“In with the foresail, I say,” shouted Jack Tier. “She
files round like a top, and will be off the wind on the other
tack presently. Bear a-hand!—bear a-hand! It looks black
as night to windward.”

Mulford then regained all his powers. He sprang to the
fore-sheet, calling on the others for aid. The violent surges
produced by the wind prevented his grasping the sheet as
soon as he could wish, and the vessel whirled round on
her heel, like a steed that is frightened. At that critical and
dangerous instant, when the schooner was nearly without
motion through the water, a squall struck the flattened sails,

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and bowed her down as the willow bends to the gale. Mrs.
Budd and Biddy screamed as usual, and Jack shouted until
his voice seemed cracked, to “let go the head-sheets.”
Mulford did make one leap forward, to execute this necessary
office, when the inclining plane of the deck told him it was
too late. The wind fairly howled for a minute, and over
went the schooner, the remains of her cargo shifting as she
capsized, in a way to bring her very nearly bottom upward.

eaf079v1.11. We suppress the names used by Mrs. Budd, out of delicacy to
the individuals mentioned, who are still living.
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Cooper, James Fenimore, 1789-1851 [1848], Jack Tier, volume 1 (Burgess, Stringer & Co., New York) [word count] [eaf079v1].
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